Charles Armstrong "Chick" Chapin, 94, lawyer, scholar, decorated WWII Marine officer, civic servant, husband, father, horseman died Sunday, May 31 at his Chatham home, Windridge. He lived most of his life in Springfield. He attended and graduated from Carleton College, served in World War II as a Marine Artillery officer and studied law at the University of Michigan. He joined his father Roger E. and brother John R. in the family law firm of Chapin & Chapin. For the past decade he was Of Counsel at the law firm of Brown, Hay, & Stephens.
When she was twelve Nancy Lanphier told her mother "I'm going to marry that man." A man with a flashy Saddlebred had caught her eye. In his twenties, Chick was a lithe and capable rider who handled a spirited and fractious mare well. He knew to keep his back straight, eyes ahead and hands and mind steady if his horse plunged a bit underneath him. These essential horsemen's skills served him well over his lifetime. He was a gracious host and quiet leader. He served his community on various boards supporting the arts, education, history and social services.
Horses were his lifetime passion and central to his choice of wife, travels, dinner conversations and the inspirations for the annual Christmas cards he drew and sent to hundreds of his friends. At Carleton College he ran the college stable and did stunt riding for exhibitions. He could pick a handkerchief off of the ground and ride two horses standing with one foot on each of their backs! He chose to be a Marine artillery officer so he could have riding privileges and Marine issued riding clothes. He played polo at Quantico, rode Mongolian ponies in China and was with the First Marine Battalion on Okinawa.
Cowboy, polo player, trick rider, fox-hunter, he also was competitive in the equestrian sports of eventing and dressage. He earned six Century Club awards through the United States Dressage Foundation where his and his horse's ages added to a hundred as they competed in a dressage test. He loved that every year he got to ride a younger horse.
A formal man, he wore a jacket and tie to dinner for many years and seemed intimidating to his children's friends on first acquaintance. It was everyone's surprise to see him don an orange, pink and white track suit when he was an official staff person for the equestrian sports at the 1994 Olympics in Los Angeles. It was only because his duties involved a horse that he would wear such clothes!
We will celebrate his life with a Gathering for family and friends at Windridge on Wednesday, June 3 from 5-8 pm. Please join us.
Thursday June 4, there will be a Memorial Gathering at First Presbyterian Church, 321 S. 7th Street, Springfield from 4:00-5:15 pm, followed by a Celebration at 5:30 pm.
Memorial contributions may be made to: Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, 206 S. 5th St., Suite 930, Springfield, IL 62701 or a charity of the donor's choice. - See more at Butler Funeral Homes